Marubeni to Invest in Production of Next-Generation Recovered Carbon Black (rCB) Business

Feb. 15, 2024
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) has concluded an agreement with RCB Nanotechnologies GmbH (hereinafter, “RCBNano”) to acquire RCBNano shares through the underwriting of a third-party allotment for new shares (hereinafter, the “Transaction”). RCBNano, which is headquartered in Germany, is currently constructing a plant to produce next-generation recovered Carbon Black*1(hereinafter, “rCB2.0”) used in tires. 

Left: Carbon black Right: Conceptual model of plant Left: Carbon black Right: Conceptual model of plant

There has been increasing interest within the tire and rubber product industry in recent years in the process to produce recovered Carbon Black (hereinafter, “rCB”) from end-of-life tires by means of pyrolysis, towards the achievement of a circular economy and increases in the sustainable materials ratio. However, due to factors including the high ash content and low reinforcement of rCB, it has to date not fully achieved sufficient standards to be used as a replacement material for virgin Carbon Black (hereinafter, “vCB”) for use in tire and rubber products.

In collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute, the largest non-profit research institute in the EU, RCBNano has successfully developed technology to produce rCB2.0 to a world-leading standard, achieved by removing the ash from rCB through a proprietary post-pyrolysis chemical purification process. RCBNano had previously achieved outcomes in the semi-commercial production of rCB2.0*2, and RCBNano’s rCB is 100% capable of serving as a replacement material for vCB. Using funds from the Transaction, RCBNano will proceed with the construction of an initial plant, which is expected to commence stable supply of rCB2.0 to clients by the end of 2024. This plant will be the first commercial operation of an rCB chemical purification plant worldwide.

Marubeni has positioned green strategy as a basic policy in its Mid-Term Management Strategy GC2024 and aspires to be a forerunner in green business. For the tire and rubber material business, Marubeni plans to consolidate and structure a sustainable value chain from rubber raw materials to tire and rubber material sales. Through the Transaction we will develop the attendant technologies, including pyrolysis recycling technologies, required to enhance the quality of the solutions we provide to our business partners. We will meanwhile expand our business worldwide utilizing this technology, particularly in Asia(Including Japan) and the Americas, thereby contributing to reductions in the environmental load of the tire and rubber industry and the improvement of sustainability.

*1 Carbon Black: Carbon-based fine particles, mainly used as reinforcement for rubber.
*2 Facilities using reactors and major equipment of the same size and structure as those used in commercial production.

RCBNano Overview
Company: RCB Nanotechnologies GmbH
Location: Munich, Germany
Established: 2020
Representative: CEO Niels Raeder
Main Business: Recovered Carbon Black chemical purification business
Website: https://recovered-carbon-black.com/en/